Getting into the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in DC isn’t easy – you have to put your name into a lottery because there are so many people that want to do the run and then names are randomly selected. I tried to get in last year, but wasn’t picked so I was very excited when I got the email a few months ago that I would be running this year. The cherry blossoms were supposed to be in peak bloom for the run – something that I don’t think has happened the last few years, and the weather was supposed to be chilly but sunny. So why did I drop down to the 5k?
I have to say I have been in a pretty big funk this month – my cat Willow passed away on March 31st which was the weekend before this run. Now maybe some of you will say, “Big deal, it’s just a cat.” but if you know me, you know what a huge animal lover I am – add that in with the fact that she has been my snuggle buddy for the last 19 years – 19 YEARS!!! That is over HALF MY LIFE! So you can imagine I have been taking this pretty hard. The last 4 years she had diabetes, so I had to make sure someone was around to give her insulin 2 times a day. I had to base all my adventures around her care – which I was happy to do because I was lucky enough to have people who were able to help me. So my entire daily routine has changed and my snuggle buddy is gone. It really started sinking in a few days before the cherry blossom run. I was supposed to spend a long weekend in DC, but all I could do was cry. I spent Friday on the couch bawling my eyes out and very early Saturday morning I decided if my hotel room was still available I would head to DC – even if I just sat in the room and cried.
I called the hotel and the room was still available so I jumped on the train and went. Now maybe you are thinking, “She would have wanted you to go.” but you would be wrong. She would have wanted me to sit on the couch with her and snuggle which was something we did plenty of over the years, but she wasn’t there so maybe that’s why I went.
My hotel was beautiful and I had an amazing view of the Capitol Building from my window. I settled into my room and then walked over to the National Building Museum to pick up my packet just in case I decided to run. I found out that you could switch into the 5k at any time – even race morning so I pretty much had decided that’s what I would do.
After packet pick up I headed down to the Renwick Gallery because I wanted to see the Burning Man art exhibit – but the line was all the way down the block to get in – and the museum was only open another 45 minutes so I figured there was no way I would get to enjoy it. I know there are some pieces scattered around on the streets also, but my phone was almost dead so there was no way I’d be able to find them, so I headed back to my hotel and settled in for the night.
When I woke up I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to go, but I figured I may as well head down there, even if it was just to watch. I wore every layer I had because I knew if I did the 5k I would just walk it so I wanted to dress warm. There was a Capital Bikeshare dock right outside of my hotel so I decided to cycle to the start. It was very easy to rent a bike – what wasn’t easy was returning it because a lot of people decided to do this. There were several of us scrambling around from one dock to the other trying to find an empty slot to return our bikes. It was a little chaotic with thousands of people walking around and a little overwhelming. I finally pushed the bike to the highest spot I could find to try to see if I could figure out what to do. All I could see was a mass of people.
I opened the bikeshare app and located a dock 5 blocks away with a few empty spaces. I cycled over and was FINALLY able to return the bike. The app is super helpful. When I left in the morning it was showing free docks close to the start, but by the time I got there they were taken. So after some backtracking I was back at the start. The 10 mile waves had already left and the 5k didn’t start for another hour so I went over to check out some cherry blossoms and cheer on the runners going by.
Once it was closer to the 5k start time I took my place in line. This was an extremely walker friendly 5k – we had an hour and 15 minutes to finish. I wandered along enjoying the sights of DC. Once I was done I was told I had to get a 10 mile medal since that is what I paid for, but if there were any extras I might be able to exchange it. Luckily there were extras as I wouldn’t have felt right taking a medal I didn’t earn (even though it was gorgeous!)
I walked all the way back to my hotel, showered and then people watched at the train station in DC until it was time for me to head home.
Next year 10 miler FOR SURE!
(Sorry I am not myself in the latest video)